- Alana Gunn, PhD, MPP, AM
- Sage Kim, PhD
- Linda Weatherspoon, BA
Research Project Description
Discriminatory surveillance results in multiple health issues. Excess use of force and involuntary police contacts are known to increase the likelihood of injuries and deaths. Furthermore, chronic exposure to neighborhood stress contributes to mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Studies document that minority men with a history of criminal justice contact tend to avoid encounters with formal institutions due to fear of police contact. This finding suggests that justice-involved individuals and families are less likely to seek social services and healthcare, even when desperately needed. While justice-involved individuals are tracked across multiple agencies such as educational, social services, and health programs, data-driven, predictive policing has not reduced crime but reinforced extreme stigmatization, structural violence, and health disparities among Black communities.
Our project aims to explore how hyper-surveillance of communities of color affect the pattern of social interactions in everyday life among justice-involved families, and health consequences of living in highly policed neighborhoods including chronic stress and trauma. We will utilize a multi- method case study strategy including:
- ethnographic interviews with those affected by hyper- surveillance;
- photovoice; and
- content analysis of media and policy reports.
Our team is invested in engaged-policy research that has timely, real-world implications. Chicago is going through a consent decree process as an effort to reform the Chicago Police Department. Our findings will directly inform the consent decree efforts. This project will provide valuable on- the-ground evidence to understand the expansive implications of racialized hyper-surveillance affecting neighborhood, family stability and social capital, which ultimately contributes to health inequality.
Alana Gunn, PhD, MPP, AM
Alana Gunn is an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Criminology. She is a social work practitioner who has worked with formerly incarcerated individuals and the agencies charged with supporting their re-entry. Her research focuses on how multi-level stigmatization shapes the lives of individuals navigating trauma, illness, and surveillance. Alana also examines ways of advancing ethically-sound, stigma-sensitive research with marginalized communities.
Sage Kim, PhD
Sage Kim is an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health. Her research examines the effects of neighborhood context, including hyper-surveillance and incarceration, on health inequality. She focuses particularly on spatial aspects of social and economic vulnerability. Sage has worked with multidisciplinary research teams to explore mechanisms linking social stress and biophysical responses.
Linda Weatherspoon, BA
Linda Weatherspoon is the Director at Roll Call, a grassroots agency in Chicago that deals with the universal needs of the formerly incarcerated and at risk youth by addressing issues that justice involved individuals face. She is responsible for ensuring programs run effectively and building organizational capacity. Linda oversees community forums designed to link residents with local stakeholders. Linda also partners with other organizations throughout the city of Chicago.